KICKSTART COMICS

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Tuesday
Apr032012

I usually hate family dramas. The father is stupid, the mom is often whiny and the kids are always much smarter than any adult in the show. Thankfully, Kickstart has a very cool and fun title that bucks all those trends masterfully.

It’s called Knowbodys, and here’s the description: “Derk and Betty Knowbody struggle to be loving parents by day while at night they regulate the world of the supernatural. From keeping the Hell Hound next door at bay to talking depressing Poltergeists into finding their inner anger, Derk and Betty are the best.  But when a high profile case moves their whole family to New Orleans, they will find not only their family, but the very fabric between life and death endangered.”

You’d never know that this is Matt Maeillaro‘s first comic script because the characters shine brightly and the pacing is quick and engaging. Of course, fans will know Maeillaro from his work on Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021. He has a wry, quirky wit that is fun to listen to (and now read).

My favorite person in the title is Derk, the father of the bunch. His wit is so dry and his desire to dive in and fix the problems is so appealing that I wouldn’t have minded having him as my own Dad (if I had to choose someone else than my father). He’s clearly the leader of the family, and he’s usually the one who knows what to do next. When the final battle is about to happen, he leaps in to resolve the situation.

Still, he knows when to step back. One of my favorite things he says takes place when he lets his wife charge into their home to take on the baddies. He tells his son, “Mom is code for heavy artillery.”

Betty takes Derk with a huge grain of salt, also having fun with her husband. At one point when asked where the family is going, she responds, “A place called a restaurant. Maybe your father has heard of them.” The tone of the book is such that these jabs are not nasty in nature, but fun. Given the way comics struggle at times to communicate nuance, this is quite a accomplishment. I also liked that both parents genuinely care for their kids and each other, struggling with their “job” while providing for their children.

While I’m on that subject, the kids are, well, kids! What a welcome change that is!

Even the various supernatural beings have unique personalities, distinguishing one from another. Nice job!

Laced in among the characters is an interesting mystery that challenges the Knowbodys to both solve and resolve. It’s a fun, yet danger-laced story that concludes with an interesting change in the family structure.

The art by Jesus Redondo Roman is clear and dynamic, perfect for the story. It has something of a Dick Giordano or John Romito Jr. feel to it.

If you’re looking for an intelligent, entertaining supernatural story, be sure to pick up Knowbodys! It’ll grab you from the first page until they ride off into the sunset! It’s not to be missed!

You can listen to my recent interview with Maeillero during my Wayne’s Comics podcast by going to the sfp-now.com website. We talk about how he created the script for the book as well as his other projects, so don’t miss it!